Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Shiny, Happy People: Or What Genuine Spiritual Practice Looks Like

As you probably know, I was the Keynote speaker (or reanimation specialist, as I like to call myself) at this year's Pennsylvania Association of Senior Centers' Annual Conference in State College.

They filed into the room in their work clothes, unsuspecting.

Until I asked them (more like "told" them) to take off their shoes, and then they knew something different had come their way.

I just got pictures from the event, and the thing that was most fun for me looking at these shots was the faces.  Look at those faces.  The smiles, the joy, the giggling, the intensity.

THIS is what spiritual practice should look like, people.

We are built for JOY!

Exultation!

Ecstatic expression!

These bodies are meant to move and groove.

These bodies are built to dance, to leap, to shout -- all in loving, compassionate, witnessed community.

Instead we treat our bodies like sack cloth and think that enlightenment only comes with serious faces and perhaps a bit of self-flagellation (which comes in many forms...).

There is enough pain in this world so no need to make our practices into pains also.

If it doesn't feel good, then, as I would say IRL, DUDE!?! WHY ARE YOU DOING IT?

Sometimes getting to practice is hard.  Sometimes the first few minutes you feel like you are 150 years old.  But then...you should feel all of that drop away.  You should be glad to be there.  You should feel stronger and brighter when you leave the room.  And even when it is physically challenging, it should feel like you are AWESOME for trying.

There are enough opportunities in this life to feel small or not enough, but when you come to my studio, that is NOT one of those opportunities, and any studio or practice that makes you feel that for even one second should be tossed. Immediately. And you know, given the FINGER.

Here is what it looks like: